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FAMILY LAW
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Guidance
The resolution of child custody and visitation disputes requires divorcing parents to act rationally in their child's best interests at a time when they are facing the overwhelming stress of divorce. While some couples immediately reach an agreement on short- or long-term custody, others require court intervention for the intermediate or final decision. We have the knowledge and experience in child custody law to guide you through the process including in the following ways:
Temporary Hearing
Shortly after the initial papers are filed seeking a divorce, the family court will hold a temporary hearing (order to show cause) and issue an order that controls legal aspects of the parties' relationship until it grants the final divorce decree. When custody is contested, the order creates a temporary custody solution. Unless there is evidence that doing so would not be in the best interests of the child, temporary custody is typically granted to the person who stays in the marital home. Depending on the circumstances, the temporary custody order may indicate which parent the court thinks is the more suitable for an award of permanent custody. Our office will advise you on whether to stay in the home or move out. We will also make sure that all the facts in your favor and all competent evidence thereof is presented on your behalf. Furthermore, if you are a victim of domestic violence, we may be able to obtain temporary possession of your residence as well as temporary custody of your children on an emergency basis.
Mandatory Mediation
California requires that parties in a contested divorce attempt mediation with a facilitator, a specially trained neutral third party in an attempt to resolve their disagreements. We will advise you and prepare you for the mediation so that you may reach an agreement and save time, effort, and unnecessary expenses.
Custody Evaluation/investigation
If the parties are unable to reach an agreement regarding custody, most courts will order a custody evaluation prior to trial. A court-appointed mental health professional such as a psychologist or a social worker usually does the custody evaluation. Some courts appoint minor's counsel to conduct the evaluation. Either way, the evaluation includes interviews with both parents and the children; observation of the children; conversations with teachers; and possible psychological testing of both parents and children. When a custody evaluation has been ordered, the court usually will not enter a final custody determination until the evaluation has been completed. Our office will advise you on prepares you before you are interviewed by the evaluator. We will also write declarations on your behalf so that all the evidence in your favor is considered by the evaluator. We will also help neutralize any factors that may weight against you.
Trial
California decides contested custody cases based upon a determination of what arrangement is in the best interests of the child. Considerations that go into a best interest determination may include review of the child's age and attachment to the parent who has been the primary caretaker; parental physical and mental health; any history of domestic violence; and the child's wishes, depending upon the age of the child and the motivation for the preference. If you've been unfairly accused of domestic violence, if your spouse is coaching your children against you, or if your spouse is lying in order to obtain custody of the children, we will put for the objective facts before the judge or commissioner and obtain a fair custody and visitation order for you based on the truth.
 
 
 
 
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